Indwell and private developers will rebuild Jamesville social housing complex

Indwell and a consortium of three private developers will rebuild the Jamesville social housing complex in Hamilton's North End.

The Jamesville social housing complex will be demolished and rebuilt

CityHousing Hamilton will redevelop its Jamesville housing complex to include taller buildings and a mix of units and incomes. (CityHousing Hamilton)

Indwell and a consortium of three private developers will rebuild the Jamesville social housing complex in Hamilton's North End.

The CityHousing Hamilton (CHH) board voted Tuesday to hire Indwell, a Christian-based affordable housing agency, and the Jamesville Redevelopment Corporation, which includes Marz Homes, FRAM + Slokker and Melrose Investments and Homes by DeSantis.

The pair will replace an existing 91-unit townhouse complex in the west harbour neighbourhood with a 46-unit rent-geared-to-income apartment building and 45 units of affordable housing. Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor, likened the redevelopment to Toronto's Regent Park, which has been lauded for its mixed-income redevelopment.

"The Jamesville redevelopment is an unprecedented opportunity for social housing in the city of Hamilton," he said in a media release.

This development has drawn sharp interest from those calling for more affordable housing in Hamilton. The demand for affordable housing is greater than the supply, and more than 7,000 households are on the city's waiting list.

Meanwhile, CHH, which is the city's largest social housing agency, says it has a large backlog of repairs and not enough money to fix them. The Jamesville units, one of Hamilton's largest social housing communities, are 48-years-old. They're not at the end of their lives, the report says, but they need extensive repairs.

Under this new deal, CHH will still own the land, but Indwell and the Jamesville Redevelopment Corporation will build housing for a variety of income brackets. While 45 of the units will be more expensive than social housing, the agency says, those units are being replaced elsewhere. 

"Through this unique project, we will see a 100-per cent return of the Jamesville land value to CityHousing Hamilton for reinvestment into affordable housing," said Chad Collins, CHH president and Ward 5 (Centennial) councillor.

There were four proposals. The former Jamesville tenants have relocated across the city, Farr says, and the buildings will likely be demolished in the spring.

Indwell has been involved in several new housing projects. That includes a 45-unit building that includes the Hughson Street Baptist Church, and the former Royal Oak Dairy on East Avenue North. 

Indwell has been busy outside of Hamilton too, including two projects in London, and the former Norfolk Inn in Simcoe that was once a dance club, a rooming house and a strip club.


Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca


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